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Clarken Racing | Clarken Racing News 53054 Ironclad Kicks Off Big Flemington Carnival For Clarken

Ironclad kicks off big Flemington carnival for Clarken

Ironclad kicks off big Flemington carnival for Clarken

Will Clarken is taking a big team across to Flemington for the Melbourne Cup Carnival and he's hoping to land a blow early with the talented Ironclad in the Group 2 Linlithgow Stakes on Saturday.

The South Australian trainer is expecting to have runners at three of the four iconic meetings with black-type performers Beau Rossa and Ironclad representing the stable on Derby Day.

Clarken said the latter is his best chance, the seven-year-old looking to collect the biggest win of his career, adding to the three Listed races already on his CV.

John Allen takes the ride from barrier 10 and the trainer is hoping Ironclad can produce a similar first-up performance to the one that saw him sprint brilliantly to capture the Listed Matrice Stakes at Morphettville in March.

"We've really taken note of that (win in the Matrice), he's an older horse who's got a few ailments and I think the time to really strike with him is first-up," Clarken said.

"I'm really buoyant about how Ironclad has come up. His coat hasn't been this good for a long time and he turned in a beautiful piece of work on Tuesday morning. He's in a really good way.

"Although it's a Group 2 and it's worth a lot of money, he's in a race that I think he can be competitive in."

Punters feel similarly, Ironclad firming from $15 to $12 with the TAB when markets opened.

The stable is less confident about the prospects of Beau Rossa, a $21 chance in the Group 3 Rising Fast Stakes.

Ben Melham will be in the irons and the instructions will be very straightforward.

"We'll be riding him ultra-conservatively – he got into some bad habits at the end of last prep," Clarken said.

"So we'll try to keep half the field in front of us and hopefully see him finding the line and that'll give us a good foundation for lots of good races to come.

"His problem is he's got that high handicap rating, wherever we run him first-up in a handicap, he's going to be big odds because he needs to carry the weight against good horses who are hard and fit."

Melbourne Cup day will be a big one for Clarken's stable apprentice Ben Price, who will make his Flemington debut on Second Slip.

The six-year-old was beaten 2.6 lengths when resuming in a Listed race at Caulfield earlier this month and boasts a strong second-up record with three wins and a third from five starts.

"He's come on really well from his run the other day, he's taken a lot of fitness from that," Clarken said.

Balaklava Cup and Seymour Cup champion Noname Lane is a chance to continue his sterling preparation in the Listed Furphy Plate on the first in November.

The six-year-old is coming off a last-start seventh in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap, finishing 2¾ lengths behind Tuvalu.

Meanwhile, globetrotter He's A Balter will resume on Oaks Day, his first run since having two starts at Meydan over the Dubai World Cup Carnival, for a second and a fourth in a Group 2.

"He's trialled up terrific the other day. He's an honest horse but he's got a high handicap," Clarken said.

"He's the toughest horse you'll find."


ICYMI - Galaxy Patch runs a smashing second in the Hong Kong Derby

  A $50,000 Adelaide Magic Million purchase by Will Clarken, Suman Hedge Bloodstock and David Jolly the son of Wandjina was purchased with Hong Kong in mind. After winning impressively on debut at Morphettville, Hong Kong was on the radar.   Instantly the gelding made his presence felt in Hong Kong winning on debut he then went on to win three further races following an unplaced run on the all weather track. Going into the Hong Kong Derby he was second at Group One level against California Spangle. The step up to 2000 metres was a question mark having previously only ran over the sprint trips.   From the big raw lad we purchased at the Adelaide Magic Millions in 2021 it is such a pleasure to see the vision we had almost become a reality on international shores.   Galaxy Patch became the second horse selected at the Adelaide Magic Millions by Will to reach the Hong Kong Derby after Prawn Baba a $20,000 purchase placed seventh in 2017.

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Kuroyanagi's spring goals

South Australian filly Kuroyanagi will spell in Victoria after a terrific run to finish third in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield, with her trainers already looking ahead to further elite-level targets in the spring. Niki O'Shea, who co-trains with Will Clarken, said the filly could head towards Guineas options later this year, having shown a great deal of raw talent in just her first racing preparation. "It was great, she was fantastic," O'Shea said. "When she came off the bit early, I thought we were in big trouble, so I was just happy that she did what she did. "On Sunday morning you wouldn't have known she'd had a run. She's actually going to stay there, she's gone to the paddock at one of those nice places down at Mornington." Clarken and O'Shea were not sure where Kuroyanagi would get to in her first preparation, with the view the $390,000 Written Tycoon filly will be a superior three-year-old galloper. "We've hardly trained her really, she's just done it under her own steam, we nearly put her in the paddock three or four times and she just kept pointing us in the right direction," O'Shea said. "He (Brenton Avdulla) said she was just green, ran off the corner and ran around the place, she's still six months away. He said she might even be a Guineas-type of horse, she's got the big action and she'll only keep improving."Story from Tim Yeatman

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Clarken ‘blown away' by his Blue Diamond filly

Blue Diamond contender Kuroyanagi is doing things Will Clarken has never seen before. The Group 1-winning trainer is astounded by the physical development of the talented filly and her appetite for work, confident she's going to run a big race in Saturday's $2m feature at Caulfield. Clarken has been open about the fact he's been searching for an excuse to tip Kuroyanagi out, convinced she's going to be even better as a three-year-old, but she's just thriving. "It's amazing. Me and (co-trainer) Niki (O'Shea) are just blown away by what she's done," Clarken said. "I could send people a video of her first gallop this prep and you'd just think it was a different horse. The way she's improved and the way she can handle pressure in a preparation is phenomenal. "I've never had a juvenile who has strengthened and developed in work. Week-to-week she's getting bigger and stronger and more durable. She's a ferocious doer and nothing fazes her. "I haven't dealt with a lot of really good young horses like this but she's just obviously got a great constitution." Kuroyanagi first came to prominence in early January when superstar jockey Jamie Kah made a rare visit home to South Australia to ride her to a dominant victory in a jumpout at Murray Bridge. She went on to win her debut in soft fashion at Gawler before an agonising second across the border in the Group 2 Blue Diamond Prelude for fillies earlier this month. "She's just come home and thrived. I haven't had one travel back and handle it so well for a long time," Clarken said. "That was our main concern as it was the first trip away for a young horse but she's put on weight, she's really above herself and he work has been terrific – we've been able to get two good gallops into her." With Kah and Blake Shinn, who partnered Kuroyanagi in the Prelude, opting to go elsewhere, Clarken was left searching for a suitable rider and he was watching a recent Sha Tin meeting when it hit him that Brenton Avdulla would be perfect. "I like to keep an eye on Hong Kong racing because we've got a small pool of horses over there now and he's riding so well," he said. "I was going through options, I asked a couple of Sydney guys and they had rides up there, so I said to (racing manager) Lachie (Weekley) ‘why don't you ask (Avdulla)'? "We watched him ride a double at the Chinese New Year meeting and I thought ‘imagine getting him on, it'd be awesome'." Kuroyanagi is rated an $18 hope with the TAB and Clarken thinks that presents good value. "The gate (two) to me is not ideal, I would've liked to have drawn out a little bit, but we've got the gun riding her, so that will help," he said "If she gets a little luck in running, I think she's a genuine each-way chance. "It's hard to say that going into big Group 1s but she has trained on remarkably well."

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